February 1989 Home   Newsletters

March 1989

April 1989

League Members' Discussion Meeting
President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
500-foot Height Limit for Downtown Honolulu? -- Some Pros and Cons (Astrid Monson)
Sources and Uses of City Funds
Proposed Budget 1989-90
Nominating Committee Report
Annual Meeting
Urgent! Help Needed for Vote Count
Senate Resolution
Women's Equality -- Women's Lives

President's Message

The LWVUS is launching a major "ADVOCATE FOR THE VOTER" campaign in an effort to put the voters back in control of the electoral system and reestablish a strong base for American democracy.

Voting is the most basic and most important act that a citizen performs in a democracy. Yet barely half of all eligible citizens exercised their right to vote in the last election, making this the lowest participation rate in 64 years. The US has the worst participation record among the world's major democratic systems--a national embarrassment.

With all the work and money expended by our election officials, we in Hawaii saw little change in our voting numbers. Why was this? One of the key reasons is the restrictions placed on voter registration. In States such as ours, access to voter registration is difficult--where a citizen must go to certain locations during specific hours to register in person. The Lieutenant Governor's efforts to pass legislation to enable voter registration by mail is a necessary first step to increase voter participation. When people are registered, they do vote. In presidential elections, 80-90% of registered voters exercise their right.

The LWVUS is pushing to enact HR 15, Representative Al Swift's NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION ACT. The key element of HR 15 is the "motor voter" provision. Whenever an eligible voter applies for, renews or changes address on a driver's license or non-driver ID card, the person will automatically be registered to vote. To include those who are less likely to have a driver's license, such as people with low incomes or disabilities, HR 15 also provides for mail registration and for registration at governmental and nongovernmental agencies. Public assistance and unemployment compensation offices must be included in these registration programs.

The other elements in HR 15 include a voter registration deadline of 25 days before the election and anti-purging, where citizens may not be removed from voter lists unless they fail to vote in two consecutive Presidential elections and all intervening state and federal elections.

League feels that HR 15 can be improved in several ways. First, voters should not be purged from registration lists for not voting. Voting is a basic right of citizenship--a right that should not be abridged because it is not exercised. Second, the League supports election day registration. The 25 day deadline is too long, and certainly a 10-day deadline is not too short.

Let's make a concerted effort to push this first step in the "ADVOCATE FOR THE VOTER" campaign by calling or writing our Representatives Dan Akaka (2301 Rayburn House Office Bldg, Wn D. C. 20515, Ph. 202-225-4906, or 808541-1986) and Pat Saiki (1407 Longworth House Office Bldg, Wn D. C. 20515, 202-225-2725 or 808-541-2570.)

Arlene Ellis

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